Joey Beltran reveals he had COVID just two weeks prior to BKFC title defense, plans to retire by the end of 2022

Joey Beltran
Image Credit: BKFC

Joey Beltran is still the BKFC heavyweight champion.

Beltran was looking for his second title defense when he faced Sam Shewmaker in the main event of the stacked BKFC 18 card. Entering the scrap, the UFC and Bellator veteran was confident he would get his hand raised and he ended up doing so by decision.

“I knew I was better than him, I knew I could beat him it was just a matter of me opposing my will on him and taking the victory. In the first round, I went away from who I am. Look, I’m a brawler and I was too technical in the first round,” Beltran said to “After that, my cornerman got me back on track and we won the rest of the fight. Like, I knew when we hit the scorecards I was still going to be the BKFC heavyweight champ.”

Although Beltran dominated the fight, he was disappointed he didn’t get the stoppage win. However, part of the reason why he didn’t was the fact he had COVID-19 just two weeks before the fight. Due to that, he admitted he couldn’t use his normal pace and pressure.

“Going into the fight, not many people knew but I had COVID like two weeks before. I knew I couldn’t fight a high pace the entire time, I didn’t have that second gear,” Beltran said. “I wanted the finish, it was a personal goal I set out for myself but I didn’t have that second gear to go for it. It’s all good, I dominated the fight and won all the rounds.”

Despite not getting the finish, Joey Beltran was pleased with his performance. He knows hopes to return in the fall but has no opponent in mind. He says he would like to face Arnold Adams who beat Beltran back in 2018, yet, he’s uncertain that will be the fight.

“I want to fight again before the end of the year. I want to get one more year. I’ll be good to go by September, October, it’s more about scheduling and how the other heavyweight fights play out,” Beltran said. “Personally, I do want to fight Arnold Adams to get that win back, but I’ve asked David Feldman and he said Arnold needs to get another win. Whoever I get is whoever I will fight.”

When he does return later this year, the 39-year-old Beltran will be looking for his third heavyweight title defense. The plan for the UFC veteran is to fight three times by the end of 2022 and retire as the BKFC heavyweight champ once he has five title defenses.

“It will be bare-knuckle from here on out. I still have the grind for MMA, but if I have lost any step, it has been on wrestling and my scramble ability. I’m just going to hang out here and retire when I have five title defenses so I have two out of five done, so by the end of 2022, I’m out of here,” Beltran concluded.

Who do you think Joey Beltran should fight next?

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